The Secret to Pelvic Stability? Your Booty!
The butt has always been a focal point for many a wandering eye, and the source of many a toning/sculpting goal…but did you know that strengthening those Gluts is an essential element to pelvic stability?
Your Gluteals are made up of a group of three muscles on each side, the gladiators of you derriere! :
- Gluteus Maximus
- Gluteus Medius
- Gluteus Minimus
Traditionally, when training to strengthen and tone the butt, the main focus is on the Glut Max, the main extensor of the thigh. This is the largest of the three, and the muscle which gives the most pleasing results to the eye.
More often than not, Glut Med and Min tend to be somewhat over-looked; but these hidden warriors have power that extends far beyond mere aesthetics, as they hold the secret key to pelvic stability!
Functionally this pair is responsible for stabilizing your pelvis during the single leg stance phase of walking, which accounts for more than 70% of the gait cycle! When strong and working properly; they provide a stable pelvis which helps to correctly transmit force through your lower limbs, to your pelvis and into your spine while walking. This force is substantial considering that during the single leg stance phase your entire body weight is being supported by one leg!
Conversely, weak Glut Meds and Mins translate into what we call “The Sexy Walk”, as your pelvis dips and rises with each step you take. While this may be desirable when walking the catwalk or attempting to attract the attention of a possible mate, it is most certainly not a healthy movement pattern for you pelvis and your spine!
Furthermore, as walking speed increases, double leg support time during the gait cycle is reduced, and eventually eliminated completely as you break into a run. During running the cycle is comprised only of a single leg phase and an airborne phase, making it especially important to strengthen these muscles when involved in running sports.
To test the strength of your all-important booty balancers, we use a simple test called the “Trendelenburg Sign.” A positive Trendelenburg sign indicates weakness or paralysis of the Glut Med and or Glut Min.
To do the test yourself, all you need to do is watch yourself as you stand on one leg in front of a mirror. A positive sign is when your pelvis drops to the side of your lifted leg. If you are unsure, try squatting on one leg as this will accentuate the drop…still not convinced? Raise your hands above your head and perform the single leg squat again.
Glut Med is one of the most common muscles to become weak and inactive, so many of you at home will find this sign to be positive as you test yourself in the mirror. The unfortunate reality is that weakness in this muscle is also a predictor of lower back and sacroiliac joint instability and pain.
The good news is that exercises to strengthen these ever important Gluteal Muscles are relatively simple and can be done in the comfort of your own home! Generally I recommend going to see a Chiro, Physio, Bio or Personal Trainer to help you learn the most effective exercise variations to ensure you are getting a fully functional workout! Looking and feeling awesome when you’re standing and moving… now that’s some BASS!
Remember, it takes 6 weeks to start having significant strength gains in a muscle, so commitment and discipline is key! Make it fun, and you’ll see great results in no time – on the dance floor and off!
Stay strong, stay healthy, and remember to never neglect your booty…after all…It’s all about that bass!
Move Well. Live Well.